Recovery Blog Adderall and Alcohol

Adderall and Alcohol

Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is FDA-approved to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. This prescription drug is classified as a Schedule II medication under the Controlled Substances Act due to its potential for misuse and abuse.

While Adderall can be an effective treatment for ADHD and narcolepsy, it can create serious side effects when misused or taken with substances like alcohol.

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Can You Take Adderall With Alcohol?

You should avoid mixing Adderall and alcohol if you can. This combination can be very dangerous and can result in many serious effects. While the manufacturer of Adderall does not specifically mention a warning about taking this medication with alcohol, CNS stimulants like Adderall can mask the effect of depressants like alcohol. This means that if you take Adderall with alcohol, you may not feel the effect of alcohol as you normally would and could be at higher risk for alcohol poisoning

Additionally, there may be a concern for heart-related risks when alcohol and Adderall are taken together. One study found that combining alcohol and stimulants like Adderallincreased blood pressure and stress on the heart. Adderall and alcohol can each increase the risk of cardiac events on their own, and this study demonstrated that taking both together could be even riskier. The manufacturer of Adderall also warns about the risk of cardiac events. 

Adderall and Alcohol Side Effects

Adderall is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, but rather than canceling each other out, they work in opposition. Some potential side effects of using alcohol while on Adderall can include: 

  • Higher blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Distraction
  • Aggression
  • Restlessness
  • Reduced self-control
  • Other mood and behavior changes

How Long After Taking Adderall Can I Drink Alcohol?

While it is best to avoid alcohol entirely while taking Adderall, that may not always be possible. In general, you should wait at least four to six hours after taking immediate-release Adderall or eight hours after taking extended-release formulations before drinking alcohol. Always discuss any possible drug interaction with your health care provider or pharmacist to get the most specific information for your situation. 

Adderall and Alcohol Overdose Risk

The CNS stimulant effect of Adderall can mask the effect of alcohol when both substances are taken together, which increases the likelihood of alcohol poisoning. There is also an increased risk for cardiac issues when mixing Adderall and alcohol. 

If an overdose occurs, it is important to seek help immediately by calling 911 or contacting Poison Control. Always seek medical attention if you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning. Do not wait for symptoms to emerge. Alcohol poisoning can lead to death in certain cases, so it’s important to move quickly. 

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning may include:

  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness or inability to wake up
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Slower heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Dulled responses, like no gag reflex to prevent choking
  • Low body temperature
  • Bluish skin color or paleness 

Why Do People Mix Adderall and Alcohol?

People may mix Adderall and alcohol for a variety of different reasons. One study determined that the rate of abuse is highest among those aged 18 to 25 who get this medication from friends and family without a prescription. This may coincide with starting college, and alcohol might be used to minimize the jitteriness that Adderall can cause. Some individuals also use Adderall and alcohol together in an attempt to “party longer.” There is also a common misconception that Adderall is safer than other drugs because it is a prescription. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. 

Alcohol and ADHD

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and ADHD are thought to share common genetic associations, meaning someone with ADHD may be more likely to experience AUD. Further, alcohol use and ADHD during adolescence can each increase the severity of each other. This seems to be attributed to impulse control and a maladaptive reward system in those diagnosed with ADHD, which makes this population more susceptible to AUD. 

Adderall and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol, Adderall or both, The Recovery Village Columbus can help. We offer a variety of treatment options, ranging from medical detox and inpatient treatment to teletherapy and long-term aftercare. Contact us today to learn more about treatment programs that can help you begin a healthier, substance-free life in recovery.

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.